This Creative Life

Welcome to the creative work of Alan White, head writer and producer of "FEEDBACK; A HERO'S CALLING," now at Broken Sea. The "Feedback" in question is Matthew Atherton, My Hero. He and other heroes of mine have links found down the left side of these pages. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Why ... Back In MY Day ...

... we didn't have no "podcasts!"

I say this because of the age-old radio program I'm currently listening to, and how it intersects with my current creative life.

I may have started listening to Hour Of The Wolf, on WBAI-FM, 99.5 in New York City, back in the 80's. When I listened to it then, it was companioned with the Golden Age of Radio, and both of them presented action/adventure/science fiction stories to me in audio form. These two shows both sustained my mind and kept my creative fires lit. And in hindsight, it gave me another address tucked away in my brain that I was able to tap to HUGE advantage when I met My Hero and wanted to expand on his mythos.

And speaking of hindsight, and present effect, back in the eighties I now recall that "meeting my hero" did not begin with My Hero. It was this very show, Hour/Wolf where I first met a hero. WBAI held/holds fundraiser a few times a year to stay on the air. They are madly subversive leftist radio who hates all things establishment, and so broadcasts publicly due to donor moneys and not corporate sponsorship. At every fundraiser, they call for volunteers to come to the station to answer the phones. So one mad morning, I volunteered to answer phones during Jim Freund's hour--the host of Hour/Wolf. I met him then. Afterwards, I would call into the show everyong once in a while. Then one specific broadcast, he mentioned comicbooks and the X-Men, and I dropped into his ear how cool it would be if he could interview Chris Claremont, who was writing the stories of the X-Men at the time. I gushed enough about Claremont that Jim was convinced, and he was ready to make the invite. But he did something REALLY unusual. He invited me to come along to the studio when he did the interview.


And yes, I most certainly did go. The host of Golden Age of Radio ran the nighttime elevator and let me up into the building, and then Jim let me into the studio, and there was Chris Claremont. I was too backward and shy to actually say anything on the air, which is probably why he invited me to help him, but I wimped out. But this was a budding new relationship back then. I had visited the studio perhaps once or twice after that. During one of those, I acted as runner for author Jack Womack, (around the time that this book was published)--I went to get him at a diner and brought him to the studio because it was his first time being interviewed there, and he needed the escort.

My relationship with Jim was cut short when my mother grew ill and I went out to Missouri in a whirlwind of 'religious epiphany.' I did give my goodbyes to him, but I stopped communication completely.

Well, Jim has continued to go strong since then. And now, I've come back into the creative fold as a creator, and not just a fan. And I'm realizing that I am actually bringing stuff to the table when I meet my heroes. They find something about me that makes them want to keep me around.

And I'm really grateful and humbled by that realization. It seems obvious to my therapist (in today's session) but I hadn't got it. I owe that to my beatdown self-esteem.

Anyway, listening to the May 5 broadcast of Hour/Wolf, I heard several writers give their bios as members of a writers' group. One of them had Escape Pod buy one of their stories and broadcast it. That made the big juicy intersection for me.

The show I've been listening to for twenty years, is trafficking with the internet medium that I've been listening to for only the last few years. That means Jim, like myself, is absorbing and using the new medium of the art.

Which makes me want to reconnect with Jim. Of course, I have things my work that I want to introduce to him because he runs a live radio show about science fiction and I could get some precious airtime, but I actually want Jim to know me again. I want to show him my journey. Whatever he saw in me back then, I want to find out if he could appreciate what I've become now.

So, that's what I'm going to endeavor to do.

You heard it here first.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

My Vacation And Other Inanities

I shall endeavor not to put you asleep by providing pithy captions. Click on the pictures and you'll see why it took so long to put them up. They're ENORMOUS.
First; The Plane Ride. Why would I not be terrified out of my wits (such that they are)? What the hell are humans doing up here?!?!

Second; The Famed Highways. We didn't have enough patience to even THINK of taking pictures when we were stuck in traffic. So these pics were taken when traffic was nice. This is not the norm, by our experience. Not that the East Coast is all that much better.

The neighborhoods you see outside the highway are what I called 'El Barrio', from the "Chico and the Man" theme song. It was ghetto with a Mexican flavor. And our hotel was in the middle of it. And I was okay with that. Because hey, we all got to live somewhere. No harm, no foul.
Third; The Star Wars Convention. See my beautiful people. These costumes. ROCKED. And I only took 15% of the picture of all the costumes available.

Of special note; one of the hottest Imperial officers I've ever had the pleasure of being near;

Also of note are the crafted pieces of Star Wars fandom. Everything except the flat panorama on the wall is solid 3D;

The highlight of the Convention for me was the Jedi Academy. The Jedi costumes are my favorite to begin with, and almost everyone wearing them, of which there were MANY, looks awesome. But this Master Jedi was awesome as he taught the little padawans. He had a Scottish brogue and a Shakespearean delivery. And his assistant was cute! Her sabre was the plastic telescoping "practice weapon" that the students were also given.

Two guest appearances at the Con;
Captain Jack Sparrow.(This dude was so in character, I wondered if he weren't drunk and took the occasion to dress up and enjoy it.

George Lucas, the X-Wing Pilot. (This isn't actually George, but this man knows he looks enough like him that he dresses up like the rare toy figure of George in jumpsuit.)

On Monday we are done with the convention and it's time to check out the rest of LA. We discover that the entirety of the city is not actually El Barrio;

MacArthur Park (which I learned actually IS melting in the dark. On May 1st, police beat up a bunch of Mexican demonstrators. It's enough within the borders of El Barrio, I guess).

Northeast of El Barrio, blurred at the borders, is the metro area of Los Angeles. They are building luxury condos in that no-man's land.

So we headed to the famous Universal Studios, driving along the Hollywood Freeway. We saw the famous Capitol Records building, the round white one that topples in the movie "Earthquake".

Universal Studios was awesome. It's a movie-lover's dream. Check it out;
From Upper Universal (the park is situated on a mountainside. The entrance is above the studio lots.

The Every Street, as I call it. This and several other streets they use for TV and movies. Universal made them less sturdy than they actually are in the real cities.

They used this theatre front for Mary Jane Watson's theatre experience scene in Spiderman 2.

The aircar from Serenity. Yay Joss Whedon!

The big model steamer ship from Peter Jackson's "King Kong". I know! Coooool!

The Psycho House! It's right behind Whoville from "The Grinch" with Jim Carrey. I KNOW!

THIS I did not need to see, as that I'd still be taking two more planes to get home in a few days. But this is from the Tom Cruise vehicle "The War of The Worlds" I hated that scene, and I hated driving through it in real life. And I hate the whole idea of flying. And I've said all that already.

But the REAL highlight of Universal Studios, was the famous (to me) Citywalk!! Before you get the the theme park, you walk through this open air mall attraction where Feedback was crowned The Next Great Superhero!! Check it out!

Afterwards, we decided to drive to the coast and see what the Pacific Ocean was up to. We ended up at Redondo Beach.

It was very nice, but something there, either the shellfish I ate at a beachside restaurant, or the billions of bacteria in the sand that I sifted through my fingers gave me a monstrous, hand-scouring rash later that night that made me think I had lost my mind. With a late-night trip to the Rite-Aid for Benadryl, my mind and the rest of the vacation was saved.

So next morning, armed with a latte

(Tall-sized only $2.45 on Hollywood Blvd!!)
we returned to Hollywood and saw the following;

Captain Kirk's star, with a removable decal from some Star Wars fans. (Removable, I know, because I tried and succeeded. But then I left it. I didn't put it there. Let Bill take it off himself, lol.)

SE Corner of Hollywood & Vine

And on the way back, the famous;

And then it was time to go meet My Hero. I took no pictures of me and him because it was more of a personal journey for me than a fan trip. The man means a lot to me, and has re-fired all my creative engines. For that I owe him his privacy. But here's what it looks like on the way to his side of the world;

So as you can see, California was beautiful. And this was only the Los Angeles area. I'm told there's Wine Country, and Redwood Forests, and a whole West Coast full of wonders. I'm glad I went.

And I'm glad I'm back. :)